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Jesus and the Disinherited Paperback – November 30, 1996


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Jesus and the Disinherited + Meditations of the Heart + The Search for Common Ground (A Howard Thurman book)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (November 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807010294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807010297
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hailed by Life magazine as one of the great preachers of the twentieth century; a spiritual advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., Sherwood Eddy, James Farmer, A. J. Musty, and Pauli Murray; the first black dean at a white university; cofounder of the first interracially pastored, intercultural church in the United States; Howard Thurman (1899-1981) was a man of penetrating foresight and astonishing charisma. His vision of the world was one of a democratic camaraderie born of faith, and in light of today's global community, one of particular importance.

More About the Author

Howard Thurman (1900-1981) was the first black dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University and cofounder of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, California, the first inter-racially copastored church in America.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This short book should be bought, read, and shared.
Walter Jonas
A book that gives you an insight into how to read the words of Jesus and gain an understanding how his teachings speak to us today.
Bibliophile
Thurman describes how the life and teachings of Jesus relate to the great enemies of the soul--fear, deception, and hate.
Nathan W. Attwood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By E. Witham on July 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I tracked down Jesus and the Disinherited after reading Richard Lischer's fine study of Martin Luther King Jr, Preacher King. Howard Thurman, I had learned, was an influence on Martin Luther King Jr. A scholarly Christian reflecting on the African-American experience, he preached non-violence long before it was fashionable. As the back cover states, this is "an influential book whose message helped shape the civil rights movement and changed our nation's history for ever."
Thurman compares the situation of African-Americans to that of the Jews in the time of Jesus. He analyzes the psychological effects of oppression on individuals. He describes the strategies oppressed people adopt for survival based on fear, deception and hate. Fear teaches our body to avoid confrontation with a member of the dominant community, we use double talk so as not to attract negative attention, and our only possible response becomes hatred which keeps us from moral disintegration.
Jesus' call to love enemies was revolutionary. Genuine love must be a mutual recognition of the dominant and oppressed communities as human beings. Genuine love at an individual level (I hate all Asians, but this person I know to be a human being) may lead to an exceptionalism which does not remove the deep hatred of the others collectively.
Thurman concludes, "What, then, is the word of the religion of Jesus to those who stand with their backs against the wall? ... They must recognize fear, deception, hatred, each for what it is. Once having done this, they must learn how to destroy these or to render themselves immune to their domination." (p. 108)
The power of this book derives from Thurman's own experience of oppression and his analysis of Jesus' own experience of minority. It is not betrayal to love our enemies; it is a victory when the dominant and oppressed communities respect each other as equals.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By jfinan@boone.net on January 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book was my first introduction to Howard Thurman but it won't be my last. This gentle yet passionate look at Jesus offers insight into God's and our own relationship with the poor as well as some profound pathways to understanding racism. The cover note on the back reads..."an important and influential book whose message helped shape the civil rights movement and changed our nation's history forever." All I know is that this book has changed my own personal history and I will read it again and again.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jim Tumber on April 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Its is purported that Martin Luther King carried this book with him at all times, and upon reading these pages one can see immdiately that this book isn't just a tome of Christianity, but rather a blueprint for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. But in a larger sense this book is a guide for transcending the heartache and humiliation of modern life and renewing one's vision of a spirited public and personal life.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a classic which deserves to be named that. It is one great look at the heart of a decent and kind man, who personally, I believe, saw the heart and mind of God, and wrote accordingly. In this book, we will not find the harsh and intolerant God of the conservative establishment, but the real and kind God of the New Testament. Here we find a Jesus who wants to talk to us, hug us and be our best friend. Yet, this Jesus also wants to defend the poor and at-risk. This is a radical look at a radical man and, to me, savior, Jesus Christ.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Walter Jonas on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Want to know the experience of an African American in America in the thirties and forties, the man who "discovered" Ghandi, went to India, and brought back his message, the man who then taught his students at Boston University School of Theology this message.

One of his students was Martin Luther King.

This short book should be bought, read, and shared.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nathan W. Attwood on March 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Howard Thurman is well known as one of the 20th century's great mystics, thinkers, and spiritual leaders. "Jesus and the Disinherited" may be his best known book, and it's certainly his most influential. Martin Luther King, Jr. carried a copy with him in his travels and it grounded him as much as any book. It's certainly worth the accolades.

It's a small book, and its organization is basic. Thurman begins by describing people under oppression as the people "With their backs to the wall." Most of what Christians have written about the role of the teachings of Christ in conversations about oppressed people comes from the perspective of those with power who have an obligation to help those who do not have power. Thurman affirms this approach, and compares it to the perspective of Paul, who, though a Jew and regularly persecuted for the Gospel, always had the power to assert his Roman citizenship. His was a chosen powerlessness, and he occasionally chose to use his societal power.

Jesus, God Incarnate, chose to take his place among those "with their backs to the wall." Thurman believes that Jesus' life and teachings can only be understood from this vantage point. He argues that those who have never been powerless cannot fully understand what it means to have society's structures and systems turned not to their benefit and protection but to their subjugation and humiliation.

Thurman describes how the life and teachings of Jesus relate to the great enemies of the soul--fear, deception, and hate. He is a master not only of the faith but also of psychology and society. The final chapter is about love, and how love between those in power and those with their backs against the wall can only be the result of relationships built on mutuality.
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